Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Saline County
Produced by Alice Vosika.


Location and Physical Features | Primitive Occupants
The First Settler | Indian Depredations | Pioneer Events


County Seat Contest | Burning of the Jail | Court House
Legislative Representation | Statistical | The Press
Criminal | Schools | Railroads
Crete:   Early History | Doane College | Religious

Crete (cont.):   Schools | Crete Public Library | The Press
Secret Orders | Business Interests
Manufacturing Interests | Opera House
Crete (cont.):   Biographical Sketches
Crete (cont.):   Biographical Sketches [cont.]

Wilber:   Early History | Banks | Manufactories | Schools
Religious | Secret Societies | The Press
Biographical Sketches


Wilber:   Biographical Sketches [cont.]
South Fork Precinct. [Biographical Sketch]

DeWitt:   Local Matters | Biographical Sketches
PART 10:

Dorchester:   Early History | Local Matters
Biographical Sketches

PART 11:

Friend:   Early History | Banks -- Schools and Churches
Societies | Newspaper | Biographical Sketches
Pleasant Hill:   Biographical Sketches
Swan City | Western | Atlanta Precinct [Biographical Sketch]

List of Illustrations in Saline County Chapter



This town is pleasantly located in the northern part of Saline County, on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, in Nebraska, and about eight miles west of Crete. This situation is an attractive one, being on the level prairie land about midway between the West Blue River and Turkey Creek. The first named stream is three miles north, and the latter about the same distance south from the town.

It is in the center of a rich agricultural region, and supported by a thriving and industrious class of farmers, who are settled on all sides of the village. The population now numbers about 300, and is made up of a substantial and progressive class of citizens, who are moral and industrious.

The business and professional interests of the town are represented by three general merchandise stores, two drug, one grocery, one furniture, two hardware, and two millinery stores, one bank, two restaurants, two hotels, three livery stables, a post office, one newspaper office, two elevators, two lumber yards, two coal yards, two blacksmith shops, two lawyers and four physicians. There are three substantial churches. The residence portion of the village is made up of neat houses of different styles of architecture, but none of them very large. The schoolhouse is a good one.


The history of Dorchester begins with the year 1870, when the site was selected by the town company of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, which road was then in progress, but had not yet reached this point, though the survey was made. The site selected was on land belonging to the United States Government, and to secure it the Town Company induced four men to enter, by pre-emption claim, the entire section of 640 acres, each party to enter 160 acres, and as soon as possible prove up and transfer the land to the company, who were to lay out a town. Two of the men who settled at that time were James Seely and Edward McIntyre, who made a permanent location here. The other two only remained long enough to secure a title to the land, and transfer it to the Town Company. To retain possession of this land, a house was built on the center of the section, so that a portion of it should be on each of the four farms. Here the winter of 1870-71 was passed quite pleasantly, though of course the settlers were lonely, there being no settlements nearer than the streams on the north and south. In the spring of 1871 the railroad was finished to this point, a side track put in, the sale of lots commenced and several settlers located here.

Edward McIntyre had been chosen by the railroad company to manage their business here, in the sale of land and town lots. A House was built for him by the company, but before this was completed he lived in a dug-out, where he had brought his young wife from wealth and affluence in the East. The young couple lived here several weeks in happiness before the house was completed.

On the completion of the railroad in early spring, a post office was established, with E. McIntyre, Postmaster. Tidball & Valentine, of Crete, established a store, very early in the spring and placed a clerk in charge of it. E. K. Mooney built a hotel, J. P. Hawkins and Rev. Frederick Alley came the same spring. In August, 1871, T. B. Parker located in the new town and bought the store of Tidball & Valentine. He was soon followed by T. Jarrett, J. J. Moore, J. J. Armstrong and William Dorman. The above comprises about all the settlement that was made during the first year in the history of the town.

Some time during the first few weeks in the history of Dorchester, the first sermon was preached by Rev. Frederick Alley, a Congregational minister.

The early settlers soon arranged for a public school and in the winter of 1871-72 the first term was taught by Mrs. Thomas Jarrett, in a small frame building which is now a part of a store here.

The first birth occurred in the spring of 1872, and was that of John, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hawkins. The next birth took place on October 10, 1872, and was that of Ed. McIntyre Parker, son of Hon. and Mrs. T. B. Parker.

No marriage took place until late in the year 1873, when John Warren and Miss Lizzie Roe were united in wedlock.

The first death occurred in the spring of 1873, and was that of Burke, the little son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Windrem.

During the year 1872, there were but few additions made to the settlement of the town, and but few changes made. T. B. Parker sold his general merchandise store and erected a drug store. A little later a small lumber yard was started. There were no more business houses until the year 1874, when Windrem, Butin & Sawyer opened a general store, which ran about eighteen months and then discontinued business.

The town grew but very little until the year 1879, for the reason that Pleasant Hill, on Turkey Creek, a short distance south, was the county seat and naturally drew a trade for quite a large scope of country.


After the removal of the county seat to Wilber in the eastern part of the county, Dorchester began to improve, and a number of buildings in Pleasant Hill were purchased at a cheap price and removed to this town. Since that time improvements have been steadily going on until the present state of affairs has been reached.

The schoolhouse was built in 1872, since which time the public schools have been continually kept up. The present schoolhouse is 24x40 feet in size, two stories high. The school is graded and consists of three departments. The house is found too small, and arrangements will soon be made to increase its size.

There are three churches in Dorchester. The Christian church was built in the summer of 1878. This religious denomination has a quite large membership. The Congregational Church was built in the summer of 1879. The Congregationalist society was the pioneer religious organization in the town. The Methodist church was removed to Dorchester from Pleasant Hill in 1880. The circumstances attending its removal are quite interesting. After the removal of the county seat, the Methodist Church society lost in numbers so rapidly that in a short time but few were left. The pastor of the church organization at Dorchester conceived the idea of securing the church building for his own town. The Pleasant Hill people, however, would not give it up. An attorney was consulted, who told the Dorchester people to go over, tear down the church and remove it. A party was organized and went to Pleasant Hill with wagons to haul the lumber away. They were received with threats of violence, but kept on until the roof was torn off, and nearly all of one side as well. The floors were also torn up and some of the lumber loaded on the wagons, when an officer arrived and served an injunction on them. The citizens of Pleasant Hill then set to work to rebuild the church. The district court was sitting in chambers at Falls City. The attorney for the Dorchester people hurried there and after securing a hearing of the case, the injunction was dissolved. He then telegraphed home to a large party that had been organized and was waiting. They then went to Pleasant Hill, again tore down the church, moved it to Dorchester and rebuilt it with an addition. This was the last of any serious trouble concerning its removal.

The Bank of Dorchester was established in October, 1881. The lodges and societies of Dorchester are as follows: The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, organized on May 13, 1878, with about thirty members. A. Moffitt was Noble Grand, and T. W. Carey, Secretary. The present membership is upward of sixty. It is in a prosperous condition. The Knights of Honor, Harmony Lodge, No. 2560, was organized in August, 1881, with twenty-one members. T. B. Parker was elected Dictator, and T. A. Sawyer, Reporter.

In the history of the town there have been several periods when the Independent Order of Good Templars has existed. The present lodge was organized early in June, 1882, and has a large membership. R. R. Ryerson was made Worthy Chief Templar, and B. Reckard, Worthy Secretary.

The newspaper is the Dorchester Star, which was established August 21, 1881, by H. C. Bittenbender, who edited it until January 19, 1882, when he sold it to Ryerson & Bullock, the present proprietors. The Star is a bright weekly paper, five-column quarto, in size, and is Republican in politics.

Dorchester was incorporated as a village in 1881, with N. B. Alley, Thomas Jarrett, John Oberlies, S. G. Panter, and W. H. Pallett, Trustees; C. F. Thomas, Clerk; J. H. Clark, Treasurer, and M. O. Alley, Marshal. The following is the roster of officers for the year 1882: John Oberlies, W. H. Pallett, N. C. Ryerson, W. R. Toole, W. C. Parker, Trustees; J. H. Clark, Treasurer; J. C. Thurston, Clerk; S. D. Alley, Marshall.


N. B. ALLEY, Postmaster, Dorchester, was born in Missouri in 1844, where he remained until 1864, when he emigrated to Cass County, Neb., where he remained until 1867; when he went to Clark County, Iowa, where he was married to Miss S. E. Smith, a daughter of Elder G. W. Smith. In 1868 returned to this State, and homesteaded in Lancaster County; in 1872 came to Dorchester and engaged in general merchandise; in 1873 was appointed Postmaster at this place. Is President of the Village Board, Notary Public, and Secretary of the Christian Missionary Society. Is a member of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F. Mr. A. has three children.

W. R. BOLDING, physician and surgeon, Dorchester; was born in Coles County, Ill., in 1843. In 1846 his parents moved to Washington County, Iowa. In 1861 at the breaking out of the war, he was among the first to enlist, and after a hard service of three years, having been in twenty-nine battles and skirmishes, his regiment, the First Iowa Cavalry, was mustered out of service at Davenport, Iowa. Shortly after his return, he commenced the study of medicine with Drs. Morgan and Cobb, at Dayton, Iowa. In 1871-72, he attended the medical department of the State University, at Iowa City, Iowa. In 1873 went to Crawford County, Ill., where he practiced medicine; in 1874 went to Johnson County, Iowa, but shortly afterwards he went to Walnut, Iowa where he practiced until 1878, when he came to Nebraska, locating at Dorchester; where he follows his chosen profession. Was married in Amish, Johnson Co., Iowa, in 1873, to Miss Elvira J. Shaff; they have four children, three boys and one girl. Is a member of Crete Lodge, A. F. & A. M., also of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F.

J. H. CLARK, dealer in grain, Dorchester, Neb.; was born in Fayette County, Pa., in 1842, and grew to manhood in that county; in 1867 went to Buda, Ill., where he remained five years; went back to Pennsylvania in 1872, remaining there three years, when he again returned to Illinois, and engaged in the grain business at Lombardville; came to Nebraska in the spring of 1878, and located at Dorchester, and supervised the building of the Warren Elevator. Was married in 1877, to Celia M. Chase, of Buda, Ill.; they have one child.

P. D. COOPER, attorney at law, was born in Binghamton, N. Y., in 1855; in 1858 his parents moved to Wisconsin; in 1870 he went to Tioga County, Pa., where he taught school; in 1872 he returned to Sauk County, Wis., where he was employed as bookkeeper. In 1873 came to Nebraska, and located at Crete, Neb., and taught school; in 1876, located at Dorchester, where he engaged in grain business; during 1877-78-79-80, was station agent at this place. In 1881, was admitted to the bar of Saline County; is a member of Harmony Lodge, No. 2560, K of H.

THOMAS JARRETT, dealer in groceries, Dorchester, was born in England, in 1844; and emigrated to this country in 1871; located in Saline County, where he engaged in farming until 1880, when he opened a stock of groceries at Dorchester. Was elected one of the trustees of the town board in 1881. Was married in Suffolk County, England, in 1868, to Miss Lydia Outing, of that county. Is a member of Harmony Lodge, No. 2560, K. of H.

R. McMANUS, of the firm of McManus & Riggs, hardware, Dorchester, Neb. Was born in Butler County, Ohio, September 19, 1811. At sixteen years of age was apprenticed to a carpenter and joiner and learned that trade. In 1832 went to Union County, Ind., where he lived until 1840. In that year he moved to Mercer County, Ill., where he remained until 1872, when he came to Nebraska and homesteaded in Seward County. In 1875 moved to Dorchester, and engaged in the drug business until 1880, when he formed a partnership with Jasper Riggs, in the hardware line. In 1875 was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, and held the office two terms. Was married in 1839 to Miss Louisa Todd, in Marion County, Ind. They have six children living. Mr. McM. is a member of New Boston (Ill.) Lodge No. 59, A., F. & A. M.

JOHN OBERLIES was born in New York City, in 1839, but was raised in Eastern Pennsylvania. In 1855, moved to Galesburg, Jasper Co., Iowa, where he engaged in farming and keeping a general store. In 1873, he moved to Nebraska, and located at Dorchester, where he engaged in buying grain, and afterward engaged in the lumber business. Mr. O. has been treasurer of the school board for the past five years, and is chairman of the village Board of Trustees. Was married in September, 1866, at Newton, Iowa, to Miss Minnie Rhodance, and has one child, a son nine years of age. Is a member of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F.; also a Chapter member of Crete Lodge, A., F. & A. M.

W. H. PALLETT, Justice of the Peace and dealer in Stock, Dorchester, Neb., was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1846. Emigated to America in 1873, and located in Dorchester, Neb., and engaged in farming and stock buying, shipping stock directly to England. In 1879 was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, and in 1881 was re-elected to the same office, and is a member of the School Board. Was married in 1870 to Miss Lucy Anthony, of the Moat, Great Haddam, Hertfordshire, England. They have one child, a son ten years old. Mr. H. belongs to Hertford, (Eng.) Lodge, No. 54, A., F. & A. M. Is also a member of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F.

SAMUEL G. PANTER, druggist and apothecary, Dorchester, Neb., was born in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1852. In 1857 his parents moved to El Paso, Ill. In 1869 went to Chicago, Ill., where he was employed in the wholesale dry goods house of Bowen, Hunt & Winslow, where he remained until 1871, when his health failing him he came to Nebraska, and engaged in farming until 1876, when in connection with his brother, Dr. J. C. Panter, he opened a drug store at David City, Neb. In 1879 he sold out and opened a drug store in Osceola, Neb., and another at Shelby, in the same county. In 1880 he came to this place and built a substantial brick building and in 1881 opened a drug store. Is one of the trustees of the village. Was married in 1878, at David City, Neb., to Miss Laura Woodruff. They have one child, a son. Is a member of Charity Lodge, No. 1712, K of H., of David City, Neb.

T. B. PARKER, attorney-at-law, Dorchester, was born in Piqua County, Ohio, October 8, 1843. In 1851 his parents moved to Illinois, where he remained until 1864, when he came to this State and located on Salt Creek, three and one-half miles from Ashland, where he remained for a short time, then went to Waverly Precinct, Lancaster Co., where he remained until 1871. He then went to Dorchester, Saline Co., where he engaged in the mercantile business until 1874. In 1876, again engaged in the same business until 1879, when he was admitted to the bar of Saline County. In 1875 was elected County Commissioner, and was a member of the Legislature of 1877. Was married February 17, 1869, to Miss Emma Livingston, in Cass County, Neb. They have five children. Mr. P. is a member of Ashland Lodge, No. 18, A., F. & A. M., also of Harmony Lodge, No. 2560, K. of H., Dorchester, Neb.

W. C. PARKER, dealer in drugs, Dorchester, was born in Piqua County, Ohio, in 1837. In 1850 went with his parents to Piatt County, Ill., where he remained until 1860, when he went to California, and engaged in farming until 1874, when he came to this State and located at Dorchester, and engaged in general merchandising in partnership with his brother, T. B. Parker, until 1879, when he bought a stock of drugs, and has since been engaged in that business. Was married at Lincoln, Neb., in 1870, to Elizabeth Briody, of that place. They have one child. Mr. P. is a member of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74, I. O. O. F., also of Harmony Lodge, No. 2560, K. of H.

JASPER RIGGS, of the firm of McManus & Riggs, hardware, was born in Mercer County, Ill,, in 1843. In 1861 he enlisted in the Forty-fifth Illinois Infantry, Company I., and was in all the battles of his regiment. Also with Gen. Sherman on his "March to the Sea." In 1864 he re-enlisted. March 19, 1865, in the battle of Jonesboro, N. C., he was wounded in left leg below the knee. The wound unfitted him for service, so he was discharged at Chicago, Ill., July 12, 1865. In October, of the same year, he went to southwest Missouri, where he farmed until 1869. In that year, in company with H. G. Hankens, bought a stock of hardware, at Avilla, Mo. In 1871 went to Louisa County, Iowa, and in 1872 came to Nebraska and homesteaded, in Hamilton County. In 1874 moved to Dorchester, and opened a general store until 1877. In that year went to Rush County, Kas. While there he held the office of Trustee of Union Township for two years. In 1880, in connection with R. McManus, he opened a stock of hardware at this place. He was married in 1864, at Aledo, Mercer Co., Ill., to Miss Rebecca S. McManus. They have two children living.

C. F. SECORD, Principal of Public Schools, Dorchester, was born in Lincoln County, Western Canada, in 1834. In 1852 he commenced to read law in his father's office, but abandoned it to follow teaching, which he has made the business of his life, teaching his first term in Niagara Grammar School. In 1865 he went to Marshalltown, then to Blair, Neb., where he instituted the high school, and was principal for five years. In 1870 he went to Decatur, Neb., and instituted a high school at that place, where he remained three years, when he came to Dorchester, Neb., and instituted the first graded school in that part of the State. Was married in 1865 to Miss Lizze Neff, of New York State. They have eight children. He is a member of Dorchester Lodge, No. 74 I. O. O. F.

JOHN THOMAS, of John Thomas & Son, dealer in hardware, Dorchester, was born in Warren County, Ohio, in 1815, where he remained until he attained the age of twenty-one years, when he went to Attica, Ind., where he learned the tinner's trade. In 1837 he opened a hardware store at that place. In 1855 he removed to Goodhue County, Minn., and engaged in farming. In 1866 he moved to Hastings, Minn., and went into the hardware business. In 1868 he went to Faribault, Minn., and engaged in the milling and lumber business. In 1872 he moved to Missouri and in 1874 came to this State and started a hardware store at Wilber, and in 1879 moved the stock to Dorchester. Mr. T. has been married twice, in 1840 to Miss Nancy McKinnie, in Henry County, Ind., by whom he had four children, three of whom are living. In 1857 he was married to Mrs. Catherine Little, at Attica, Ind.

J. C. THURSTON, of Dorchester bank, Dorchester, was born in Lyons, N. Y., in 1848, where he remained until 1870, when he went to Vernon County, Mo., and engaged in general merchandising. In 1872 he was married at Lyons, N. Y., to Miss Elizabeth J. Fries. In 1873 he sold out his business in Missouri and returned to New York, where he remained until October, 1881, coming to Nebraska and locating at Dorchester, where, in connection with H. G. Smith, they established the bank at Dorchester. Mr. Thurston is a member of Medina, N. Y., Lodge No. 336, A., F. & A. M.

W. R. TOOLE, dealer in general merchandise, was born in Louisa County, Iowa in 1848, and remained there until 1872, when he came to Nebraska and located at this place and engaged in farming. In 1874-76 he taught school, then removed to Iowa, and in the same year was elected Township Clerk of Jefferson Township, Louisa Co., Iowa, and held the office for two terms. In 1879 he returned to Nebraska. In 1880 he went into the drug business. In 1881 he opened a general stock. He was elected assessor of Dorchester Precinct in 1880 and re-elected in 1881. He was married in 1869 to Lorinda McManus, of Louisa County, Iowa. He is a member of Wapello, Iowa, Lodge No. 5. A., F. & A. M. They have five children, three girls and two boys. In 1863 to 1865 he attended Clark's, now Jennings' Seminary at Aurora, Ill.

SAMUEL WINDREM, Dorchester, was born in Lawrence County, Penn., in 1831. At sixteen years of age he went to Jefferson, Ohio, where he remained until 1851, when he went to Iowa City, Iowa. In 1856 he went to Knox County, Mo. In 1862 he enlisted in the Fifty-first Missouri Militia, and was on duty at various points for two years. In 1865 he came to Nebraska, and homesteaded in Lancaster County. In 1873 he moved to Dorchester and opened a stock of general merchandise, selling out in 1878. In the same year he built the hotel known as the Dorchester House and ran it until 1881. He was married in Jasper County, Iowa, in 1864 to Miss Nettie E. Cooper. They have five children, three boys and two girls. He is a member of Harmony Lodge 2560, K. of H., Dorchester, Neb.

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